A Best of MicroCineFest

We sadly received notice of tonight's event too late to include it in this week's print edition of the paper, but Skizz Cyzyk's MicroCineFest is one of those underground local arts events that City Paper champions whenever it comes around. Cyzyk last held the MicroCinefest in November 2006, and after a nearly two-year local hiatus--the tireless Cyzyk is also a local musician and programming manager at the Maryland Film Festival--tonight he kicks off a free, semiregular "best of " program at the Wind-Up Space featuring beloved shorts and movies from the festival's decade-long run. (See this evening's schedule below.)

Cyzyk already has nine best-of programs assembled, programs that he has already presented in Bend, Ore., and Atlanta. These programs grew out of an agreement among regular MicroCineFest attendees who, even though the festival ended in 2006, wanted to continue hanging out with each other every fall. "So we made a pact that each fall we would pick a city and we would all get together in that city and hang out, and last year it was Atlanta," Cyzyk says by phone from his Maryland Film Festival office. "And since we were going there I decided to set up a public best of while we were there. So there was still MicroCineFest last year; it just didn't happen in Baltimore."

And even though MicroCineFest as a standalone festival is no more, Cyzyk still comes across shorts and features perfectly suited to the festival's spirit, and a semiregular screening like tonight's could be an ideal venue for sustaining MicroCineFest on a more manageable scale. "One of the things that we do when we get together is rewatch a lot of the favorites from the festival, but I also show them some new films that I didn't find out about until after the festival," Cyzyk says. "So I'm definitely keeping a stack of those and I'll eventually be putting together a program of those. I still find some perfect MicroCineFest films that don't quite fit into the Maryland Film Fest, so I'd still like to have this outlet to bring them to Baltimore."

Just how regular these screenings are is still to be determined. "It's a scheduling-pending thing," Cyzyk says. "My schedule is crazy for the next two to three months, but I'm going to try to fit whatever open Thursday I have in and just go until we show all nine programs."

That hectic schedule is also what has held up Cyzyk's work on his own movie project, a documentary of legendary cult musician the Rev. Fred Lane. "I took last week off from work and cooped myself up at home and worked on it--it was the most work I've got done on it since last October," Cyzyk laughs. "I'm still hoping to shoot a few more interviews, and I'm hoping to take a trip to Victoria, British Columbia, to interview one last member of Fred Lane's band. But otherwise I'm pretty much done shooting and I've already started editing on paper. I've transcribed all the interviews and I've gone through and started to put things in order on paper. And now I need to put that footage in the computer and see how they match up."

Just another cinematic project from one of Baltimore's most tireless independent movie enthusiasts. "I'll probably make some more [of the best-of programs] because I certainly haven't tapped all of the fest," Cyzyk says. "And the idea of showing a shorts program and then a feature and then repeating shorts program, there's plenty of features that I'd love to reshow, too."

Thursday, July 31

6 p.m. A shorts program featuring City Paper contributor Rahne Alexander's "Let's Get Out of Here," Eric Dyer's "Kinetic Sandwich," Matthew Silver's "Beware of the Hot Dog People," Alex Roper's "Anarchy Monkey," Michael Goodwin's "Smashin' It Up," and more.

7:30 p.m. Alvin Ecarma's Lethal Force.

From Cyzyk's e-mail announcement of tonight's program:

After his wife is murdered and his son kidnapped, a gangster is forced to betray his best friend--a deadly killer--in this raucous, off-the-wall satire/homage that is to action films what SCREAM is to horror movies. "Proudly cheesy" (Washington Post). "A psychotronic triumph of the highest order!" (Baltimore City Paper). "Packed with adrenaline, twisted humor and severe violence!" (Shock Cinema). "Packs a punch! From the bloody geysers of ['Shogun Assassin'] to the latent homosexuality of the 'Better Tomorrow' movies, this flick has it all!" (Cashiers du Cinemart). "A savagely funny parody of action films! . . . [It] roasts every action cliche in the book . . . [and does] it better than anyone could have with ten times the budget!" (Hitch Magazine).

9 p.m A repeat of the 6 p.m. shorts program.

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